On Thursday, President Obama outlined a new course against terror that many are calling the most important statement on counterterrorism policy since 2001.
In a speech delivered at the National Defense University, Obama said that perpetual warfare between the U.S. and terrorists must end in the not too distant future.
“This war, like all wars, must end,” Obama said. “That’s what history advises. It’s what our democracy demands.”
He insisted that the Authorization to Use Military Force must be replaced to avoid keeping America in a “perpetual war time footing,” promising never to sign a law furthering the mandate’s power. He warned that continuing the war indefinitely could draw the U.S. into unnecessary wars.
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Power will begin to transfer from the CIA to the military in matters of terror, and Guantanamo detainees will be transferred to detention centers in effort to shut the facility down.
In addition, targets must now exhibit “a continuing, imminent threat to Americans” before lethal force can be used, and only then if there are no other “reasonable alternatives” to address the threat will it actually be utilized.
Obama also called for a balance between security and the preservation of freedoms, citing the Justice Department’s secret obtainment of Associated Press telephone logs.
“I’m troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable,” he said, adding that journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs.